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pp. 59, 60.
the bearer is branded a deceiver, and all who refuse to join in this outcry, are unavoidably “brain-sick enthusiasts." Like the deaf adder, that stoppeth her ear, we are counselled to act ' in this thing; and to declare without reflection, and to glory ' in our saying, that with such proceedings we can have no 'concord. Though this mode of treating a question may suit • the taste of the times, and possibly the state of the church, yet, as it is neither consistent with the spirit nor the letter of God's word, I refuse to adopt it, though sanctioned by the greatest names."
Of the author's sentiments as to the general doctrine, and also as to the particular gifts, the following is an illustration :
• As the Scriptures, which promise these gifts, actually put no limit to the fulfilment of the promise during the times of the Gentiles, and in one instance, as explained by the context, the promise is guaranteed to us " for ever;" and as experience proves that the promise was fulfilled to the church for more • than four hundred years; we have a right to suppose that no limit was designed; and therefore that the church was entitled to expect them, whenever it might please God to bestow them, during the times of which we speak. It is notorious, at the present hour, that some of these gifts are believed by many to have re-appeared amongst us: we will therefore endeavour to ' examine into them and the evidence on which they rest, comparing them with those of which the Scriptures speak, in order to discover whether they have any and what claim upon our • belief.' p. 62.
. The gift of tongues, as reported to have re-appeared, seems "to harmonize with that view of it which we have before taken ' from the Scripture, of being given for a sign, and not to fit a man for preaching in unknown languages, which, at the most, could only have been one of its uses. This may be argued ' from the fact, that it was bestowed commonly as the sign that 'the Holy Ghost was given, on occasions when the gift could
have been of no possible use for the purpose of preaching ; ' namely, when all present possessed a language in common, by which they readily conveyed to each other the ideas and divine truths which were put into their minds. Such were the cases of Cornelius and his family (Acts. x. 44–46), and the disciples whom Paul found at Ephesus (Acts xix. 1-7). It appears also to have been sometimes used as the appointed prelude or sign of prophesying (Acts xix. 6).' p. 64.
Prophesying,” our author explains, in the words of the Apostle, to be “speaking unto men to edification and exhortation and comfort” (1 Cor. xiv. 3), though sometimes containing a revelation of future events;' and having recapitulated 'the gifts which are reported to have re-appeared amongst us,
he adds- We have found their features to accord with those • which were manifested in the earliest ages.'—We have only space for the following reproof of the “bad spirit” of our opponents. P. 67 : ' But is it not a strange inconsistency, that, in ' an age of such extended and still extending toleration that the members of Christ's church are required to give the right hand of fellowship to those who deny the Godhead of their Lord
that hand is almost withheld from others, who would joyfully * sacrifice every thing, by God's help, rather than refuse to 'honour the Son even as they honour the Father, but who believe, and therefore honestly profess, that the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit belong of right to the church during the Gospel dispensation, and accordingly urge the members of that church * to seek for the enjoyment of this their high privilege ?'
A Word of Testimony; or, a corrected Account of the Evidence
adduced by the Trustees of the National Scotch Church, in Support of their Charges against the Rev. Edward Irving, and
his Defence. We have only time to recommend this pamphlet to immediate perusal. It contains some important corrections of the Reported “ Trial” (published by W. Harding); and the second speech or reply of Mr. Irving, which was considerably, and perhaps necessarily, curtailed in that publication, is here fully given. The importance of having this fairly before the church and the world 'is evident, as Mr. Irving in this part of his defence enters into the case of Mr. Baxter, which has been so hastily decided upon by many, without the least investigation.
MR. IRVING'S CHURCH THE SIGN OF THE TIMES.
“ He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear.” The church which, with its angel, prophets, elders, deacons, members in full communion, and catechumens, was, as one perfect unbroken body, cast out of that part of the great Babylon called the Church of Scotland, found refuge, as our readers know, in the concert-and-ball-room of the infidel Owen. All ecclesiastical history does not furnish a parallel instance to this remarkable transaction. Individuals, at various periods, have been ejected from different sects, and those have sooner or later formed themselves into bodies for worship according to their several fancies ; but we repeat that there is no instance of a church being cast out, whole and entire, whether orthodox or heretical. Nothing could be more repugnant to the judgment,
taste, and feelings of all the members, than the asylum to which they were driven : a barn, or a cow-shed, would have been preferable ; but none such was to be procured. Ever since this church lost its former place of meeting, the splendid towers of Regent's Square, the members have been indefatigable in seeking to purchase, hire, or build a chapel ; none eligible offered for the former purposes; and when it was resolved to erect a building, and money had been collected towards defraying the expense, the Spirit expressly forbad it, saying, that the Lord would provide in his own time. After waiting some weeks, the house and premises that belonged to the late Mr. West, the celebrated historical painter, in Newman Street, were offered : premises so eligible, and upon such advantageous terms, with accommodation so complete, in various ways, that it is doubtful if there be, within the bills of mortality, any thing comparable to them, were the whole at the option of the congregation ; and here will there be sittings sufficient to contain more persons than could be seated in the former place of worship in Regent's Square. Thus indeed the Lord has provided most abundantly ; blessed be His glorious Name!
Such being the history of the transaction, let us now read the spiritual interpretation of it. God, being about to destroy Babylon, would still not be without a church, visibly and openly bearing witness for his righteous dealings. When the Lord's servants had been cast out of the Church of Scotland by Satan instigating its rulers, no chapel should be allowed to receive them : He would not suffer his flock to enter any part of Babylon again ; but he placed them under the guardianship of the infidel power which is rising to destroy it. Neither would he suffer them to use one of its bricks in the construction of another tabernacle : they should not assemble in future in any thing called a chapel, or built for the purpose ; but He has provided the house of a painter, and the gallery whose storied walls discoursed of sacred themes ; and there will he establish his church. Nor is it to be altogether overlooked, that the very last and greatest work of the former proprietor, which was there exhibited, was the REJECTION OF CHRIST BY THE RULERS. There, in that very dwelling, will the Lord now work, with the only angel and with the only people who are content to let Him rule in his own house, and who are willing to let Him do his own work, while they are satisfied with being nothing; to lie as clay in his hands, rejoicing that He shall mould and fashion them as he will.
The first place to which Mr, Irving was led for preaching in the open air to the people, is not less remarkable, although its typical character was overlooked at the time. It was on the outside, and with his back toward, but under the walls of, the
largest prison in London ; with his face to the fields; and under the canopy of heaven ;—an apt type of the great prison of Babylon, from which he is delivered, and on which he has turned his back. This preaching in the open air has been continued by Mr. Irving, and by many members of his flock, with marked success, and is at this day one of the most important duties that can be performed, and greatly to be encouraged. It is very probable that some may engage in this work whom the Lord never sent, and who are very inadequate to the task they have undertaken--and we state the objection thus strongly in order to grant the point most favourable to the opponents—but, notwithstanding all this abatement, many have gone, and will go, who have gifts manifestly adapted for the purpose; and they who do go, whether ill or well fitted, ought to receive the constant support of the prayers of those who do not. All the pastors in London are deluding the people as to the times in which they are living, and as to the nature of the judgments, besides the other false doctrines which prevail in most of their pulpits: so that there is no possibility of making the mass of the population aware that the Lord is at hand; that all expectation of converting the world by religious societies, and of introducing political happiness and contentment to the labouring classes by reform bills, is a juggle and a lie; but by going amongst them for that especial purpose. By preaching Jesus to them as the healer of the body at all times, nearly twenty poor people who were seized by the cholera have been recovered, and are now returned to give glory to God.
Strictly analogous to these striking signs of the Lord's hand in all this transaction, is the part which Mr. Baxter was impelled by the Spirit to perform. He was sent into the Church of England, where he arrayed himself in her full canonicals, mounted the places consecrated to her priests, and there, unauthorized by her rulers, desecrated and trampled upon her ordinances. And who was the Mr. Baxter that was made to do this? was he a sectarian Schismatic, who wished to destroy the ecclesiastical institutions of his country ? was he even an Evangelical Latitudinarian, who had no respect for holy things beyond the amount of expediency which he might be able to discern by the dim light of his own reason? No; he was a distinguished champion of her rights and prerogatives; who had within a few weeks previously produced the ablest defence of her doctrines and practices that has been written for many years. But mark what this same Mr. Baxter was not permitted to do in Mr. Irving's church : When Mr. Irving, paying too great deference to the gift in Mr. Baxter, and not reflecting that the prophet is still subject to the pastor, even as the Holy Spirit is subordinate to the Word Incarnate-when Mr. Irving
was ready and willing to invite Mr. Baxter to officiate in his pulpit, and take upon himself the office of pastor, the Spirit expressly forbad it to be done. Thus did the Lord shew himself more jealous of ordinances of His own appointment, at the very time, and with the very man, whom he was impelling to trample upon them in those churches from which he was about to withdraw His protection, because they were rejecting the voice of His Spirit from the midst of them; idolizing their own wealth, and learning, and power, and considering these sufficient—nay, better than his Spirit--for the edification of the people, and for the support of themselves. " He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches."
Signs of the times are visible in every quarter, to an observant eye; and so obvious, that we constantly wonder how any can miss seeing them ;-a wonder equal to that with which the Protestant regards the Papist, and the Christian regards the Jew. The blindness in all these cases may be in some degree attributable to the insufficient manner in which the truth is stated by its advocates; but we believe it may be only thus accounted for in a very small degree, and in a very few cases. In the great majority of instances the blindness is wilful, arising from the obstinate prejudice in favour of established systems and traditions of men: not dimness of sight, but hard winking of the eyes ; which is at length visited with judicial blindness, “ that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken; and the wisdom of the wise perish, and the understanding of the prudent be hid.” To
escape this fatal delusion there is but one course: Be direct with God and with man : take God's words as they are written, and judge for yourself; and take no report against a brother, but examine for yourself. If this straightforward course were followed, we should not have creeds, and confessions, and churches, and systems of man, set in the place of Scripture; and we should not condemn a brother by hearsay, or newspaper report, but follow the Gospel rule of personal expostulation. We know of innumerable instances where men dare not go honestly and fearlessly to the word of God, lest it should subvert the system in which they have been brought up, or contravene the writings of those commentators whom they have made their idols. One of these men resisted every argument from Scripture for the love of God to sinners (Rom. v. 8), and at length said: “Well, , whatever you may say, I cannot believe it; for if I did, it would destroy all my comfort.” He had no comfort in the love of God; or the
presence of the Comforter ; but sought for it in the opiates of Calvinism-in sovereign, irreversible decrees.
We know also of two individuals at a distance, who have both received the Holy Spirit in manifestation and power; who speak in tongues and prophesy; but shun all connection with 'Mr.